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Sunday, December 08, 2013

Ind. Decisions - "Law Firms Must Return Fees Collected From Judgment That Was Later Reversed"

The Indiana Court of Appeals' Nov. 7th opinion in the case of Minott v. Lee Alan Bryant Health Care Facilities, Inc. was the subject of a Bloomberg/BNA story Nov. 19th by Samson Habte. A quote from the long story:

The key issue on appeal, [Chief Judge] Robb said, “is whether the Law Firms were judgment creditors or merely entities which received payment from a judgment creditor (the Providers) for services rendered.”

Under the circumstances here, the court concluded, the law firms “were judgment creditors or their lawful equivalent and are therefore liable for restitution.”

The court pointed to a Black's Law Dictionary entry defining a “judgment creditor” as a “person in whose favor a money judgment is entered or a person who becomes entitled to enforce it.”

“Liens filed against the Providers' judgment entitled the Law Firms to the judgment proceeds,” Robb explained. Noting that “an attorney's lien take[s] priority over the rights of other creditors, including the judgment creditor,” she added: “If the [law firms'] rights to the judgment were greater even than the Providers' rights, we see no logical reason to treat them differently for the purposes of restitution.”

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 8, 2013 09:31 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions